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MIT Prints Durable Solar Cells On Paper

Okay, so it might sound a bit counter intuitive to print solar cells on paper (pictured top). After all, isn’t the whole purpose of solar technology so we can print less paper and save more trees from being destroyed?

Well maybe so, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find other applications for solar celled paper. MIT has been working on this project since last year, and the findings are quite incredible. The paper itself is an ordinary sheet of paper with a fine layer of colored rectangles, that, when connected to a few designated wires, generates solar electricity.

The new technology is very inexpensive, easy to use, and even can be folded and unfolded for later use.

The printing process works at relatively low temperatures of about 248F and transfers five fine layers of photovoltaic cells onto a piece of untreated paper, plastic, or fabric.

What’s even cooler is that users will be able to laminate the solar paper to make it resistant to rain and wind. Now, the size and ease of use comes at a cost, the solar cells are only 1% efficient, but the team at MIT is confident that they can raise the efficiency.

It will be interesting to see how efficient the researchers can make the new technology, and you can imagine how useful it would be to be able to power up a dead cellphone when your car runs out of gas and you’re stranded in the middle of the desert. I expect this new technology to mature very well. Check out the video below to see a solar-cell paper plane.

Photo Courtesy of gizmag
Photo Courtesy of gigasolar